DOLE to submit findings on ‘sex-for-flight’ probe, Baldoz tells lawmakers

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Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines –The team sent by the Department of Labor and Employment is expected to submit a report on its findings on the sex-for-flight allegations against several labor officials in the Middle East, Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said on Wednesday.

The team which went to Jordan, Riyadh and Kuwait for its investigation interviewed some 160 individuals that included overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), welfare center wards and staff of the Philippine Embassy, she said.

Lawmakers will be furnished a copy of the team’s findings, she added.

Baldoz said she would make recommendations based on the team’s findings but these would not be sent to President Benigno Aquino III because none of his appointees was named in the alleged sex-for-flight cases.

The labor chief evaded questions about the possible dismissal of DOLE officials, saying that such a move will depend on the results of the investigation.

DOLE and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) have launched separate inquiries into the alleged abuses.

Akbayan Representative Walden Bello threatened to slash 25 percent off DOLE’s proposed P10 billion funding for 2014 should Baldoz fail to punish labor officials involved in the abuse of OFWs in the Middle East.

Bello has exposed the alleged abuses of Philippine Embassy officials on distressed female OFWs in the Middle East wanting to return to the Philippines.

And during the committee on appropriations’ deliberations on DOLE’s proposed budget for 2014 at the House of Representatives, the Akbayan lawmaker asked Baldoz whether a case should be filed against assistant labor attache Mario Antonio who was accused of running a prostitution ring in Amman, Jordan.

But Baldoz reiterated that cases would be filed depending on the recommendations of the fact finding team.

She said that her agency has forwarded documents on the cases to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), adding that possible complaints will be endorsed to the Department of Justice.
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